Noticing Beauty In The Gloom

This post is written to link with an online discussion at katemotaung.com on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig.  Today I’m posting on Chapter 4: Notice- I attend to and record what’s going on around me.

Colourful Umbrella And Man

Noticing my surroundings is not something I always do well.  Often I am too lost in my thoughts to notice what is around me.  Other times I am just too busy- rushing from one place to the other without taking time to stop and take note.

When I do slow down and look around me though, I realise there are some amazing sights to be seen- driving along a country road yesterday with the sun shining, a bright blue sky, beautiful fields all around, both green fields and golden corn fields, I felt alive and free and marvelled at the beauty of God’s creation.

But when I stop and look, mainly I notice people- interesting people, weird people, wonderful people- like a man walking his parrot on a lead in a park, or even a giraffe playing the bongos!

giraffe

One of the most beautiful sights I saw when I slowed down enough to notice though was an elderly lady.  It was dull, it was damp, it had been raining most of the day. In the city centre people were rushing in and out of shops trying to keep dry- everyone was cold and miserable and no-one was stopping to chat.  People were just hurrying about their business, trying to what they needed to do so they could get out of the rain.

Then a brass band began to play and the music drew me to go and listen.  Some others did the same.  There was nowhere to stand under cover while you were listening but somehow it didn’t seem to matter. The music had drawn people out from their shelter and brightened the gloom.

Then as the band began to play “Singing in the Rain” my attention was drawn to an elderly lady. She was wearing a bright pink raincoat and I could see she was struggling to stand still.  First she began swaying from side to side, then her feet started to tap, and finally she just gave in to it and began to dance. There were other people standing close by, holding a massive rainbow umbrella. It didn’t seem that the lady knew them, but she took the umbrella from them and began twirling it and spinning it as she danced around, completely lost in the music.

It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It wasn’t that her dancing was great- it wasn’t even in time with the music- but I think it was her joy- her delight in the music and the way she was completely unashamed about expressing that, even if she looked a little foolish. She didn’t care what anyone else thought- she just wanted to dance- and in doing so she pulled other people into her joy. Just the sight of the bright pink figure dancing and the rainbow umbrella twirling brought a smile to so many people’s faces.

At a moment when everyone was harassed and wet and miserable, the music and the dancing made people stop and smile and enjoy something together.

I need to slow down more and notice things like this- life can seem dark and gloomy at times, but if we look for them there are always little glimpses of joy and beauty to be found.

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22 thoughts on “Noticing Beauty In The Gloom

  1. I would say she was ribbistrating. Do you know that word? It is not in the dictionary since my friend invented it. But it has to do with showing joy. Snoopy, the Peanuts character did this little ribbistrating dance in the cartoon. I try to find people ribbistrating all the time. Your little lady did it unashamedly. I love that. Thanks for capturing that story for me in words.

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    1. I like the word ribbistrating! I just looked up a video of Snoopy dancing and that pretty much shows the same joy and lack of inhibition as the lady I saw.

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  2. Oh my gosh, you ladies, today, have me in tears! LOVE this post, love it so much! Thank you…(I will be back later to read and savour it properly…..)…..Helen xx P.S. Wouldn’t the world be so much more interesting if everyone followed their joy?

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    1. Thank you, Helen. Definitely, that lady was a great example of showing joy that drew others in to share it- there should definitely be more of that in the world. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Judy. That is a great idea- I’m so tempted to try and write a song now! But I have enough to do right now with these blog posts so maybe I’ll save that as an idea for later!!!

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  3. The giraffe playing bongos? Yes, that needs to be noticed and captured–which you did! And then you did the next step: share. You noticed the bongo-playing giraffe, captured it in your own experience and through the lens, then you shared it here with us. This is the power of writing. I will forever remember a bongo-playing giraffe because of you. Thank you. 🙂

    I hope as you do reflect on these moments you find a way to preserve them: in a journal, commonplace book, or even a spreadsheet.

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    1. Thanks, Ann, I’m glad you liked the giraffe! I could definitely improve on noticing and recording things. As I said sometimes I’m too rushed or distracted to properly notice, and even when I do, I may record them later in a journal but often I forget. I think I need to carry a notebook with me and get better at recording these things at the time.
      I’m really enjoying your book and the online discussion, and it is definitely inspiring me to write more, so thank you!

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      1. I’m so glad to read responses like yours–we can meet on the pages of the book and here, too. The dynamic nature of writing in the digital age, I guess. I do hope you carry that notebook with you, because you see to be in a sensory-rich environment.

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  4. Carly, I need to notice more of those kind of moments too. So beautiful. She was dancing unabashedly in the rain and didn’t care. I love that. I want to be more like her.

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    1. Thanks, Tara. I want to be more like her too, especially the way she just danced and didn’t care what anyone was thinking.

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  5. I just came back to re-read (not in a rush)….so much to love about this piece of writing! But, most of all, if made me happy!!!!! Thank you!!! [You painted the picture so beautifully, it again brought tears to my eyes!]

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    1. Helen, thank you so much for taking the time to come back to read and comment. I’m glad it made you happy. I haven’t shared much of my writing before so your comment means a lot to me. xxx

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